Every time this happens to me, I wish I did something different. I was walking home alone at 1am in a nice residential part of the city in a zipped hooded sweatshirt and corduroys, no skin showing by my face. I hear the slowing of a car coming up behind me and I feel this immediate sinking feeling, thinking oh god, here we go. A man in the car rolls his window down as he pulls up next to me, I continue to walk staring straight ahead, hoping he’s stopping for any other reason than to cat call me. “Hey, want a ride?” And immediately, I said “No”, continuing to walk and stare ahead of me. “Really?” I started to seethe. “YEAH, REALLY.” The man scoffs and says, “WOW” and drives away. I flipped him off as he drove away, wishing I had brought my can of pepper spray. It’s an abomination that this happens to women every day in the U.S., the constant degradation of women that is ignored as being harmless. And I wish I could say this were the first (or last time) this happened to me.
I had been sitting on a bench reading. I was in full sun and was getting rather hot, so I decided to head back to my dorm. As I got up and started walking along the path, I noticed a man coming towards me in the opposite direction. I didn’t take too much notice of him. Until the moment when I directly past him and noticed he had his penis and balls out of his pants, rubbing one out looking at me as he walked past. It all happened so quickly, I was already past him before I realized exactly what had happened. I suddenly became conscious of how short my shorts were and how a little bit of my mid-drift could be seen. But I told myself that shouldn’t matter. That guy was a pig-headed creep, getting off on girls in a public park. If I had been still sitting, and my experience more prolonged, I would like to think I would have called him out, brought attention to what he was doing in hopes that would shame him into stopping. But seeing as this is my first encounter with street harassment, maybe I wouldn’t have been that gutsy. But it is because of organizations like Hollaback! that I am gaining confidence. After I left the park, I found I was really angry and almost wanted him to come back and try again so I could scream in his face. And because of Hollaback! I know that that anger is justified. Thank you for empowering women to stand up to street harassment and for providing a forum for women to share their stories.
I don’t know if this counts as sexual harassing… but I might say that when I suffer from schizophrenia and I have been a victim of bullying and harassing all my life, I really don’t know.
I was waiting for a bus to Helsinki on a dark winter evening, when a young man who as obviously drunk came up to me and asked: “Hey, what bus are you waiting for?” As you might know, I got really queasy and decided to walk to another stop. When I left, I heard him say; “Well look at that, I just ask a simple question and…”
Now I would ask a simple question; why on Earth would any man in his right mind ask such a stupid question? Why are you suddenly interested in what kind of bus am I taking?
A couple of weeks ago I went to buy new shoes, vegan biker boots for kicking ass! I had some extra money left so I went to buy a couple of cans of carrot juice, my favorite drink.
Outside the shop there was a young hippie- ish man talking to a cellphone, I stopped next to him to put some garbage into the dustbin, and suddenly he yelled: “Hey girl, you! You in the red tartan cap! You know very well I am talking to you!”
I was getting a bit anxious, but didn’t mind him. I walked to the escalator, he ran after me yelling at me, I ran away and cried for help, and I made it to the bus stop without him following me.
Well, it’s no wonder I hate men so much!
I’m new as a college freshman here in Providence, and I thought I’d begin my Saturday morning with a long walk through the city, just to get the lay of the land. I have very long, very thick dark blonde hair, and I left it down to dry from my shower; it was a warm day, so I wore a tank top and shorts.
I walked for a while with no problems, enjoying the day and taking note of all the architecture. After about a half hour’s walk, I entered a part of the city I didn’t know at all. All of a sudden I realized that I was the only woman on the street, and that there were several groups of men, young and old, standing together along the sidewalk in front of me. I always feel nervous when walking by such groups, but I took a deep breath and walked forward.
Every group that I passed harassed me. They called my a slut and a whore in English and in Spanish, said obscene things about the length of my hair, and some even followed me a little way up the street. Drivers of cars started honking at me. After about ten straight minutes of this, I decided to turn around and go home (I also tied my hair back to avoid attention). A couple of young men who apparently had been watching me approached me and asked why I was turning around- was I lost? Did I need directions?
I was relieved. I thought, oh, phew, here are a couple of men who aren’t going to threaten me! But when I said very politely that no, thank you, I was just looking around since I was new to the city, they started leering at me, asking me if I wanted to come with them and “have some fun.” No thank you. Meek smile. Walk on.
As I passed through that same area again, I still got the leering looks, the hey baby’s, the get in the car bitch. I had started out so comfortable in my own skin, with the breeze in my hair and the fresh air on my arms and legs. Now all I wanted to do was hide.
When I finally got back to my dorm room, I found myself slapping my hair up into a severe bun and dragging long pasts and a long-sleeved shirt from my dresser. But then I stopped myself- that’s what they wanted. Am I really going to sweat the day away because some nasty people shamed me?
So I went on with my day. But it makes me so fucking angry that there are places I can’t go, in broad daylight, because I am a woman. And I couldn’t hollaback or even take a picture, because I knew no one would help me, and I was too damn scared.
Car followed me from the local IGA and slowly drove behind me calling me things like easy, tease, etc etc and making comments on my appearance. When I didn’t respond they sped up and got louder, screaming I was a frigid and that all frigids get raped cause they deserve it. The car was a red toyota.
Today was an ordinary day as most are. I got home early because I didn’t have rehearsal for the play I’m in at my high school or class at the local community college. As a young woman, I want to go places in my life and I’m doing everything I can to do so. This evening, however, that didn’t matter to a group of teenage boys. To them, I wasn’t a hardworking young woman who’s studying, getting some of her college credits out of the way even though she’s only a junior in high school, and filling the rest of the time with extra curriculars in the theatre department. To them, I was just a hot chick.
I was walking my neighbor’s dog for them and it was in the late evening. It was beginning to get dark but I didn’t mind because it was at least a little bit cooler than Florida is during the day. Because I would be jogging and it was at least 80 degrees outside, I opted to wear shorts and a tank top, nothing unheard of in the Sunshine State. As the dog Bella and I made our way through the neighborhood, a group of teenage boys passed us on the opposite side of the street. Since it was dark and I didn’t have my glasses on, I couldn’t recognize their faces but I knew that they went to my school. From across the street they tried to make conversation with me. Or at least, they spoke to me. No, not even that. They spoke at me.
They shouted out greetings, while talking to each other in between said greetings. They discussed how attractive I was by their standards when I was a mere ten feet away from them. I chose to ignore them, though I had a million of my own comments racing through my brain. Once I was farther away, they let up.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t the end of it for me because soon I had to turn around to go back where I came from. This time they were on the same side of the road as I was and Bella chose to go far slower than I wanted her to. I simply wanted to jog past and not deal with any more of them while Bella wanted to take her sweet time. I encouraged her to speed up by saying, “Bella! Bella, come on girl! Let’s go!” Picking up on her name, the boys called her too. When she didn’t respond, just as I hadn’t, they went back to trying on me. I kept ignoring their comments until finally I just didn’t. I thought about all the times in the past I’ve regretted holding back what I wanted to say. I thought about the conversation I just had the other day with a friend of mine of how much I hate being harassed by men on the street and how it makes me feel dirty and inferior. I thought of Hollaback. So when the next of the boys spoke, asking me what grade I was in, I replied with undeniable snark in my voice, “Not yours!” and jogged away.
Now sure, it wasn’t the most clever comment in the world. It wasn’t the toughest either. It wasn’t revolutionary or life changing, or anything. But it made me feel good. It felt good knowing that I stood up to those boys and put them in their place. It felt good to let them know that I meant business and I wasn’t going to put up with their harassment. It felt good to be able to walk away with no regrets other than not saying something cooler.
For the rest of the walk I felt great and I told my step mom about it immediately when I got home, then popped right on here at Hollback to share my story with other girls. For the first time, at sixteen years old, I stood up to the boys who wanted to show their superiority over me and proved that hey, I might be a girl, and a hot one at that, but I won’t let anyone try to make me feel like that’s all I am.
I was at Barnes & Noble looking for a book when I noticed a man standing unusually close to me. I figured he was also just looking for a book, but it made me so uncomfortable I decided to give up my search and look for something else. I went a couple aisles down and began browsing, but he followed me and I started feeling nervous. I moved again to the teen section figuring there’d be no reason for him to want something from it, but after a few minutes I saw him staring at me from the end of the shelf. I got so freaked out that I went to the front of the store at the cafe to sit, and he proceeded to follow me there and sit staring at me for my entire stay. This was my first encounter with anything like this and it made me feel so degraded and helpless. I’ve never felt that powerless before.
I was walking to an interview and while stopped at a light a construction worker said, “good morning. I love you.” NOT the way I want to start my day. I used my Hollaback app and submitted a photo.
I was waiting to cross the road on the way to meet friends, and a group of guys of about 18 crossed at the same time as I did. When a van drove in between us, they reached out at it jokily, shouting ‘touched it!’ When they walked past me, one of them reached out to grab my ass, and I jumped out the way. I heard another one of them say, ‘wouldn’t touch that-jail-bait.’ I was 14 at the time, this was a few months ago, and since then I’ve been harassed a few more times, but I’m angry that they thought it was ok to do that, especially to someone a lot younger than them. I read about this website in a magazine-thanks for giving me the opportunity to share this, Hollaback!
I was riding home on my bike, with my boyfriend. In the space of 500m, I had 3 cars filled with young men holla at me from their windows. The first was a series of wolf whistles, the second just hollering and screaming, and the third, well the third got ugly.
I’d like to point out, that whilst it should make NO difference, I was not wearing anything particularly attention grabbing. Just a pair of pink denim shorts and a green hoody. My boyfriend, who was riding a few meters behind me, witness all of these verbal encounters.
The third car, unrelated to the first 2, pulled up at an intersection, and a boy in the back seat was calling out to two other men on the street. As I rode by, he started shouting at me ‘THAT GIRLS GOT A BIGGER DICK THAN YOU DO’. Enraged by the previous cars, I simply called back and said ‘ EXCUSE ME?’. The boy proceeded to call me various names, before my boyfriend stepped in, ran across the road, up to the guy’s window, and stomped his foot into the car’s rear door.
I was obviously surprised, and violence is not something I usually condone, but I have to say I felt pride swell up in me seeing my boyfriend defend me like that. It didn’t take long however before a car full of boys, 3 of them, jumped out and started laying into my boyfriend on the side of the intersection. The three-against-one onslaught went on for about 15 minutes, all the time my boyfriend refusing to throw a punch, instead blocking and defending himself from the other boys. The whole ordeal didn’t come to an end until the police arrived, with the boys wanting to press charges for damages to the car.
I told the police, in no uncertain terms that what I’d been subjected to was sexual harassment, and whilst my boyfriend’s actions may have been extreme, they weren’t unprovoked. And that I was going to press charges for both harassment and assault.